The Housing Crisis: a call to prayer

The Housing Crisis: a call to prayer

26 January 2021 by Alison Tsang in Homelessness, Housing.

How can we respond to such a huge structural issue as the Housing Crisis?

The desperate need for decent quality, affordable housing in London for those on the lowest incomes has never been more pressing.

Lockdown during the Covid crisis has highlighted the already-present inequalities in housing that we face in our city.

The tragedy of Grenfell still hangs over us as a reminder of the dangers of poor quality housing.

London is a city full of housing inequity; it’s the “elephant in the room” when we are looking at tackling all kinds of other poverty.

If all your money, time and energy are going on simply trying to ensure you have a safe, stable and decent roof over your head, how can you possibly thrive?

As Christians, we want to play our part in tackling the injustice of housing.

But where can we start?

The good news

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community which included our own Bishop of Kensington, Rt Revd Graham Tomlin, was convened in 2019 to tackle that very question.

It’s recommendations, the “Coming Home” report, will be released on 21st Feb.

You can hear more of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflection on this here.

Encouragingly, this week, the Archbishop has also appointed a Bishop for Housing, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop-Designate of Chelmsford.

Guli Francis Dehqani scaled

There are churches across the UK who are taking bold steps in using their land to build truly affordable houses and other housing projects. Housing Justice’s “Faith In Affordable Housing” programme has worked with some of these.

There are brilliant Christian organisations, such as Hope Into Action, partnering with churches to buy decent homes which can be offered at an affordable rate those who otherwise might find themselves homeless.

These are all “good starts”. These are all good structural responses.

What About Us?

But for us individually, it can feel overwhelming.

What can we do? What do we do with this seemingly overwhelming ‘elephant’?

There is a famous saying of Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

“there is only one way to eat an elephant: one piece at a time.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

So perhaps the question is: what is our “one piece” today? What can we do, even though it feels seemingly small, which will contribute to this enormous issue?


Perhaps our “first piece” is to commit to praying about housing injustice.

  • Praying for the work of the Commission & the recommendations of the “Coming Home” Report.
  • Praying for Bishop Guli and other leaders involved in this work
  • Praying for specific church-led housing projects happening in London and beyond
  • Praying for those decision makers in local and national government to make bold decisions needed for our communities
  • Praying for organisations such as Housing Justice and Hope into Action
  • Praying for those trapped in dangerously clad homes, over 3 years after Grenfell
  • Praying for those tackling the “Cladding scandal”, facing bankruptcy due to huge charges they’re been landed with to reclad their flats

Will you join us to pray?

There is much to pray about.

We’re setting up a simple monthly prayer bulletin, to pray about these issues around housing.

The first bulletin will be issued in February to coincide with the release of the Church of England’s “Coming Home” report.

If you’d like to join us in prayer, and receive this bulletin, let us know by clicking on the link below. (Please simply put in the subject line “praying about housing” and we’ll know to add you.)

As Compassionate Communities, we are committed to doing what we can to play our part in tackling the major injustice in London of housing.

That part starts in prayer.

Join us!

Alison Tsang

Alison Tsang

Alison heads up Compassionate Communities for the Diocese of London, particularly leading on issues around Financial Wellbeing, Modern Slavery & Refugees, and the Climate Crisis.

View all posts by Alison Tsang

Back to top